Policy & Collaboration

​Development of Transfer Credit Agreements: Implementation of House Bill 2998  

Background: House Bill 2998 (2017)

The HECC is working with institution partners to simplify and better align pathways for students to successfully transfer between institutions, maximize credits toward their degrees and certificates, and decrease time-to-degree completion. ​

In 2017, as a result of collaborat​ion among the HECC, Oregon’s community colleges and public universities, and lawmakers, the State Legislature passed House Bill 2998, a bill designed to streamline transfer between Oregon’s community colleges and public universities. The legislation directs the HECC to bring together community colleges and universities to establish common foundational curricula of at least 30 credits and major-specific unified statewide transfer agreements (USTAs) that create clear and comprehensive pathways for community college students in Oregon as they transfer to Oregon’s public universities.

Implementing House Bill 2998  

To develop the foundational curricula mandated by HB 2998, the HECC staff are convening a faculty-driven Transfer Workgroup, with representatives from Oregon’s public colleges and universities, and related stakeholder groups, to advise staff and institutions on the development of unified statewide transfer agreements. 

Transfer Workgroup membership includes representation from diverse institutions and partners, including: public postsecondary faculty; public higher education professionals in instructional administration, advising, registration, and institutional research; the Oregon Community College Association, the Oregon Council of Presidents, the HECC, the Council of Student Services Administrators, the Joint Transfer and Articulation Committee, and the Oregon Student Association. Representatives from private higher education institutions have been invited to attend meetings as observers. HECC staff will provide updates on the workgroup to all interested parties on this site and by email through our transfer mailing list.​ In addition, workgroup members are expected to provide regular updates to and continuously seek feedback from the institutions and groups they represent. 

Following the development and adoption of one or more foundational curricula, the HECC will begin to convene faculty-led, major-specific workgroups of faculty discipline specialists, advisers, and others, to develop additional unified statewide transfer agreements.

Questions and Answers (Q&A, House Bill 2998)

Approximately half of Oregon’s public university students in recent years transferred from an Oregon community college. According to data collected by the HECC from Oregon public universities, in the 2015-2016 academic year, just 62 percent of these transfer students who transfer with at least 24-36 credits complete degrees within six years, compared to 82 percent of the comparable non-transfer student population (those who successfully completed two-years of university credit). Those who do complete often do so after taking more credits than their non-transferring peers, which translates to higher costs for these students and families.​
A foundational curriculum is a set of general education courses at Oregon’s public post-secondary institutions that contain at least 30 college-level academic credits, all of which will satisfy degree requirements at any Oregon public university. The HECC, under advisement from the Transfer Workgroup, will recommend the number of foundational curricula to be established, and the Transfer Workgroup will develop recommendations for those foundational curricula. 

A unified statewide transfer agreement, or “USTA,” is a major-specific curricular agreement, common across Oregon’s public higher education institutions, that allows students to transfer from an Oregon community college to an Oregon public university without loss of academic credit or the requirement to retake a successfully completed course. Each major-specific USTA workgroup, composed mainly of institutional faculty in that major discipline, will determine the course and completion standards for that USTA. For example, Business Administration faculty will negotiate a statewide pathway from community college to university for Business Administration majors. ​
The intention of this work is to create clearer, more visible pathways between community colleges and public universities in Oregon that minimize credit loss and unnecessary costs for students. If the creation of guided major pathways from community college to university across the state has the intended effect, students will find their degree path sooner, spend less time and money, and complete degrees at higher rates.​​​
Faculty will be instrumental in the creation of one or more foundational curricula and establishment of unified statewide transfer agreements (USTAs). Institutions will review, approve, and adopt the curricula and USTAs. State policy makers will not make any curricular decisions. Once implemented, community college transfer students will have more visible, navigable pathways from any community college to any public university for majors with a USTA in place. 
HB 2998 requires at least one foundational curriculum to be available to students by fall 2018. The faculty-led Transfer Workgroup will begin meeting in October 2017, with the goal of completing its work in early 2018.

The legislation also mandates that the first unified statewide transfer agreement (USTA) be established by December 1, 2018, the second by April 1, 2019, and the third by December 1, 2019. The first USTA workgroup will begin meeting in Spring 2018 and complete its work in fall 2018, the second USTA workgroup will begin meeting in Fall 2018 and complete its work early in 2019, and the third USTA workgroup will begin meeting in Spring 2019 and complete its work in Fall 2019. Once the first three USTAs are established, community colleges and public universities must continue to create USTAs at a rate of three majors per year.
The legislation does not include any mandates related to course changes or creation. While the HECC expects the Transfer Workgroup to develop one or more foundational curricula in alignment with current course offerings, institutions may need to add or remove courses, or ensure that existing courses meet any competencies and learning outcomes included in the foundational curricula.
Yes. The HECC and members of the workgroup plan to host a public roundtable to answer questions and seek feedback on HB 2998 implementation. In addition, the HECC will manage a listserv and email inbox where we will distribute updates and receive feedback. Click here to sign up for the HECC’s transfer listserv. 
Yes. According to the Education Commission of the States, 36 states have a transferable core of lower-division courses, 16 states have a statewide common course numbering system, 31 states have statewide guaranteed transfer of an associate degree, and 15 states have enacted statewide reverse transfer legislation. Recently, New Mexico and Connecticut enacted legislation that uses the “guided pathways” approach, similar to HB 2998.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Transfer Workgroup Meeting Materials

These documents are summaries of workgroup meetings, materials distributed as background, or documents produced by the workgroup. 
Posted: October 30, 2017
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Posted: November 9, 2017
  1. Summary-Meeting 2​
Posted: November 28, 2017
Posted: December 18, 2017
  1. Summary-Subgroups Nov. 17, 2017​​​​​​​​
Posted: January 24, 2018
​​​​​Posted: February 11, 2018 ​Posted: April 10, 2018 ​​​​​​​